Lights, Camera, Hollywood!

When I was a kid and dreaming of visiting the United States, there were three things I wanted most to see: snow, Disneyland, and Hollywood. At the age of 13 and watching American TV shows every Friday like Beverly Hills 90210 and Baywatch, I just knew that going to Hollywood would be the culmination of my E! News and Inside Edition days.

Hollywood, California

I was literally bouncing on my seat as soon as I saw this sign. It means we are in Hollywood!

Hollywood, California

That’s Hollywood Blvd right there! I couldn’t have been more excited!

As soon as we parked and got out of our car, in less than a minute, we were already bombarded by a mighty persuasive tour operator selling us tickets to a movie stars’ homes tour for $95 for four people. We almost succumbed to it, especially since I kept on mentioning earlier how much I wanted to see celebrities’ houses. I mean, it’s what I’d dreamed of as a kid! We pinched our pennies and declined. It was still too early in the day anyway, so we didn’t want to rush on making a big decision like that.

Hollywood, Los Angeles

The Capitol Records Tower was the first landmark we saw in Hollywood! Our car was parked right across from it.

You’ll definitely know when you have stepped onto Hollywood Blvd–you’ll see the Hollywood Walk of Fame right beneath your feet! The sidewalk on both sides of the entire street is embedded with stars containing the celebrity’s name and a round emblem to signify the celebrity’s industry (movies, music, theater, television, and radio).

Hollywood, Los Angeles

Kyle’s pointing at the stars for Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins, and for Jimi Hendrix. Mine are the stars for Walt Disney on the left (yeah, I know you can’t see it), and James Dean on the right. Are you starstruck yet?

Hollywood, Los Angeles

I found Keanu Reeves’s star! I almost fainted there.πŸ™‚ And, of course, we cannot just ignore Bruce Lee’s star too.πŸ™‚

Since it’s the city of the stars, I think it should be a part of everyone’s Hollywood itinerary to visit one of their museums and attractions, such as the Guinness World Records Museum, Ripley’s and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Kyle and I are both movie fanatics, although I’m more on the juicy gossip side, but we really enjoyed the Wax Museum because we could mostly identify the movies and characters there.

Hollywood, Los Angeles

Guinness World Records Museum

Hollywood, Los Angeles

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. We got our tickets here for free when we bought our Universal Studios tickets at their counter. Not a bad deal!

Another Hollywood dream of mine is to watch the Oscars red carpet live one day, and although I already missed this year’s Academy Awards, at least the venue is still there for me to gawk on! Dolby Theatre, which used to be named Kodak Theatre, is where the Oscars are held every year since 2002. Besides an auditorium, it also has a shopping complex and restaurants. Go to the rooftop and you’ll get a nice view of the iconic Hollywood sign on the mountain.

Hollywood, Los Angeles

Dolby Theatre

Hollywood, Los Angeles

The entrance to the Dolby Theatre auditorium!

Another Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument is the TCL Chinese Theatre, which was formerly Mann’s Chinese Theatre. Here you’ll find around 200 celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs on the concrete around the theatre. We saw Whoopi Goldberg’s hair braid’s imprint, Jennifer Aniston’s high heels, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s handprints, which are the same size as Kyle’s hands!

Hollywood, Los Angeles

Don’t be fooled. It may look like a Chinese temple, but it’s actually the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Hollywood, Los Angeles

Kyle is trying to feel Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hand against his.πŸ™‚

Hollywood, Los Angeles

Whoopi Goldberg’s braids, handprints, and footprints

After a meal of chicken wings with honey barbecue sauce at Hooter’s, we headed to an unexpected hike on a mountain so we can get a closer view of the famous Hollywood sign. But as much as I wanted to stand right beside it just like in the movies, it was too much of an uphill walk under the 80-degrees heat, so we just stopped right where we could get a nice picture and ran back to the car. Maybe next time when I’m dressed for a hike!

Hollywood, Los Angeles

They weren’t kidding in the movies when the actors go on a hike to get up close to the Hollywood sign.

Hollywood, Los Angeles

It was a nice view from that mountain.

Hollywood, Los Angeles

There it is! The Hollywood sign that overlooks the city of glitter.

And that’s the end of our trip to Hollywood. Was everything how I expected it to be? Yes and no. Yes, because I finally had my fill of popular Hollywood landmarks; they all blew my mind. No, because American TV and movies project an impression that it’s a glamorous place that celebrities frequent to all the time. Well, not anywhere on Hollywood Blvd. would I expect a famous artist. A number of wannabe musicians/rappers sell their self-made albums for a dollar in the hopes of making it big, but chances of a real celebrity sighting is close to null (except, of course, if there’s an awarding ceremony). Noisy vendors, people in mascots and costumes, swindlers, and homeless people are quite visible on the streets. It’s not all that pretty a picture when you get up close.

Well, movies are fictitious after all. There’s always something unpleasant behind the scenes that the cameras hide. That’s Hollywood for you!πŸ™‚

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